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CHAPTER  III
THE   CHURCH   OF   SS.   SERGIUS  AND   BACCHUS^ KUTCHUK   AYA   SOFIA
ON the level tract beside the Sea of Marmora, to the south of the Hippodrome3 and a few paces to the north-west of Tchatlady Kapou5 stands the ancient church of SS. Sergius and Bacchus. It is commonly known as the mosque _ Kutchuk Aya Sofia5 Little S. Sophia3 to denote at once its likeness and its unlikeness to the great church of that name. It can be reached by either of the two streets descending from the Hippodrome to the sea3 or by taking train to Koum KapoUj and then walking eastwards for a short distance along the railroad.
There can be no doubt in regard to its identity. For the inscription on the entablature of the lower colonnade in the church proclaims the building to be a sanctuary erected by the Emperor Justinian and his Empress Theodora to the honour of the martyr Sergius. The building stands, moreover, as SS. Sergius and Bacchus stood5 close to the site of the palace and the harbour of Hormisdas.1 When Gyllius visited the city the Greek community still spoke of the building as the church of SS. Sergius and Bacchus—• cTemplum Sergii et Bacchi adhuc superest, cujus nomen duntaxat Graeci etiam nunc retinent.'2
The foundations of the church were laid in 527, the year of Justinian's accession/ and its erection must have been completed before 536, since it is mentioned in the
1 Procop. De aed* i. c. 4 5 Banduri, iii. p, 45.
2 De top. ii, c. 14.                                  3 Cedren. ii. pp. 642-43,
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